Basketball

Your 2017 Bleacher Fan NBA Mock Draft

It’s NBA Mock Draft time. NBA free agency has already kicked off with a blast with the Boston Celtics trading down out of the number one pick with the Philadephia 76er’s. I’d love to say we’re surprised, but we’re not as we predicted it. It is now clear that the Boston Celtics in all likelihood will not trade Isiah Thomas and instead take a wing player at third overall. All and all I don’t know if I recall such a stacked draft class at the top since maybe the 2003 Draft.

This draft has it all, combo guards like Markelle Fultz, explosive players like De’Aaron Fox, freaks at wing like Josh Jackson, and even wild cards like Harry Giles of Duke. Oh yeah and there’s a player who’s drawn comparisons to Jason Kidd in Lonzo Ball. This draft has freakish talent up and down and we can’t wait for it to start Thursday.

1) Philadelphia 76er’s (via Celtics)PG/SG Markelle Fultz Washington

Fultz will be the choice here. Pretty simple no surprises here or else they wouldn’t have traded up in the first place. Lonzo Ball is possible but with all signs pointing to Ben Simmons playing point guard a combo guard like Fultz makes the most sense and gives theme the most flexibility.

Fultz will be the choice here. Pretty simple no surprises here or else they wouldn’t have traded up in the first place. Lonzo Ball is possible but with all signs pointing to Ben Simmons playing point guard a combo guard like Fultz makes the most sense and gives theme the most flexibility.

 

2) Los Angeles Lakers- PG Lonzo Ball UCLA

It pains me that Lavar is going to be right on this one but it sure looks like it. It’s not a slam dunk but close to it. Believe it or not, if this was old management they would be forced to take Lonzo because of the hype surrounding him. Being that Magic is at the helm he doesn’t have to, any pick he makes will be all and all backed. I think Magic likes De’Aaron Fox too especially with how fast he plays it probably reminds him of his Showtime Lakers. Josh Jackson could be taken also to fill in small forward but then again Paul George really wants to be a Laker. Lonzo will end up staying in southern California, just too much potential for Magic not to pull the trigger.

 

3) Boston Celtics (via 76er’s)- SF/PF Josh Jackson Kansas

Josh Jackson is the correct pick here. They’ll most likely use him as a stretch 4 so they can finally kick Amir Johnson’s scrub ass to the curb. Jackson shot 37.8 % from 3 and is an athletic freak. Jackson is one of my favorites, he’s an elite talent who has great length and can defend. He immediately makes the Celtics better on both sides of the ball with upside. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them take Jayson Tatum here though, another wing who can score with length.

 

4) Phoenix Suns- SF Jayson Tatum Duke

If Jackson is available, which he could be, they’ll take him as it appears his ceiling could be higher. He’s also the better defender but Tatum is no scrub. Tatum exploded for the Dukies down the stretch and showed why he’s a lottery pick. Tatum has room to grow in the weight room to fill out his body but he does have the talent and wingspan at 6″11 to be more than a capable defender.

 

5) Sacramento Kings (Via 76er’s)- PG De’Aaron Fox Kentucky

The Kings are just sad, they’re the Jaguars of the NBA, always picks and talent but never capitalize. They have Buddy Hield who looks promising but need a point guard and many other things. Fox and Hield would be a dynamic duo for years to come. I love Fox personally think he could be the best point guard in this draft and is nothing but electric. They’ll most likely take the best player available which should be Fox. If Tatum or Jackson fall they could take one of them. Jonathan Isaac out of Florida State could also be the pick as he has tremendous potential.

 

6) Orlando MagicPF Jonathan Isaac Florida State

Jonathan Isaac may have as high a ceiling in this draft as any. At 6″10 210, he like many need to add weight but his combination of size speed and length could be a dangerous combination for years to come. The Magic have some talented guards in Payton, Fournier, and Hezonja but really need front court help. News flash-Aaron Gordon is not good at basketball. Isaac gives them front court help and the most potential. They could also take Fox here if he falls or potentially Lauri Markkanen as a stretch big man.

 

7) Minnesota Timberwolves- SG Malik Monk Kentucky

I could see them going Jonathan Isaac here too if he falls but Monk would greatly help the Wolves especially from beyond the arc where they struggled. Monk shot 41% from three in SEC play and none of there are other young guys; Rubio, Wiggins, or KAT particularly shoot the ball very well from three. I see Monk as a Jamaal Crawford instant offense type guy off the bench.

 

8) New York Knicks- PG Dennis Smith NC State

The Knicks need a point guard. They’ve needed one for 15 years now. Since the last sighting of Charlie Ward. At #8 the Knicks couldn’t ask for a better option (unless De’Aaron Fox falls). People forget Dennis Smith was the projected number one overall pick for over a year before Markelle Fultz rose to the top. His talent level and ceiling are still high. There are worries about his lack of motivation and a poor team record in college, but his program was in shambles and his team wasn’t anything to write home about. Smith has the size, athleticism and basketball IQ to be a star in the NBA. The Knicks would be lucky to come home with this much talent at #8. Let’s hope Phil has the same type of luck he did with the 7 foot 3inch Latvian Prince.

 

9) Dallas Mavericks– PG Frank Ntilikina France

Nearly every team has a point guard or is going to draft one, the same remains for both the Knicks and Mavericks. Whoever isn’t taken of Ntilikina and Smith is who the Mavs will take. Yogi had a nice little run but he’s not a legit starting point guard in this league long term. Ntilikina is an athletic young point guard who is a high-risk high reward pick.

 

10) Sacramento Kings– PF/C Zach Collins Gonzaga

The Kings have a chance to rebuild their nucleus post Cousins via two top ten picks plus Heild, they better not blow it. The Kings do have fellow Kentucky Wildcats in Skal Labissiere and Willie Caulley-Stein but they are merely just rim protectors and finishers. Collins is light on his feet, can run the floor, and has good low post moves to build off of. He doesn’t have the elite length but still manages to play above the rim and lacks strength but will put on size with an NBA workout regiment. Collins won’t make a huge impact right away but could be a more than capable starting big man for years to come.

 

11) Charlotte Hornets- PF/C Lauri Markkanen 

The Hornets have no business drafting Lauri Markkanen but they will because it’s Jordan. He’s a terrible GM. How many times can they draft the same player? Frank Kaminsky, Cody Zeller, now Markanen. Lauri is a great inside-out player, a 7 footer who can shoot the 3 and well. His back to basket game needs work as does his defense and rebounding. Very young still at 19 consider him a developmental prospect who is nothing more than a mobile big who can make 3’s initially. They could also draft Louisville sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell here and move Batum back to the 3.

 

12) Detroit Pistons- SG Donovan Mitchell Louisville 

The Pistons have some guards who can score in Jackson and Pope but nobody who has the defensive abilities of Mitchell. Mitchell has a 6″10 wingspan although only 6″3 and is a great defender, think of an Avery Bradley type. Mitchell gives them an athlete and immediately makes them much better defensively, Mitchell had an amazing 3.7% steal rate last year at Lousiville. Mitchell visited Detroit this past week for a workout and showed a lot of charisma and wit off the court, the Detroit faithful are pulling for him. I really hope they don’t take Luke Kennard here, I like him he’s crafty and great from 3 but such a defensive liability. Although they do like him don’t be surprised if they take Kennard here.

 

13) Denver Nuggets- SF Justin Jackson North Carolina

Three and D players are hard to come by nowadays and Jackson looks to be just that. Jackson is an improved 3 point shooter, shooting 37 percent last year behind the arc and is very long with a 6″11 wingspan. At 6″8 210lbs, he’s going to have to put on weight and may struggle with more physical 3’s in the league initially. Jackson was the lead piece of the Tar Heels championship team averaging 19.5ppg in the tournament. He has high basketball IQ and will be a great addition at small forward with Danilo Gallinari being a free agent. He’s a great addition to the young nucleus of Mudiay, Murray, Harris, and Jokic.

 

14) Miami Heat- John Collins PF/C Wake Forest

Collins could help fill a big need for the Heat and that’s power forward. James Johnson is a free agent and may leave for more money and it blows my mind how Luke Babbit is even in the league, yet was their starting center. Collins has a nice midrange game is a great rebounder and showed he can hit the 3 in workouts with the Heat. At 6″10 225 lbs he could still add some more weight and isn’t the best defender. However, his defense is something Spo can coach and if he can show increased range will be a very serviceable power forward for them who can also play center. Justin Jackson and Donovan Mitchell are also players who the Heat like if they’re still on the board.

 

15) Portland Trailblazers- C Jarrett Allen Texas

We know the Blazers are set in their backcourt led by Lillard and McColumm. They also have a ton of players at small forward like Aminu, Turner, and Harkless. What they need are more big men. I like Nurkic but is often injured and doesn’t bring much defensively. Allen is a great complement to Nurkic defensively as he’s a great shot-blocker with a near 7″6 wingspan and is also a monster on the offensive glass averaging 2.8 per game with Texas as freshmen. Allen has potential offensively as well with a soft touch around the rim. They could also go with Creighton Center Justin Patton as well here.

 

16) Chicago Bulls- SF OG Anunoby Indiana

The Bulls are looking for athleticism in this draft, so I don’t see them taking someone like Luke Kennard or Doug McDermott, (second worst defender in the NBA statistically). See them going with OG Anunoby here who is just that. A 6’7 235lb forward who has a 7″2 wingspans and can guard multiple positions. If healthy he will be a lockdown defender on the perimeter and is real raw offensively but has potential. He would most likely be a top ten pick if he didn’t tear his ACL mid-January. Especially with Butler’s future uncertain Anunoby fits that type of mold of a defensive forward who’s a developmental project on the offensive end. See above for Allen as the Bulls also could use a center for the future.

 

17) Milwaukee Bucks- SG Luke Kennard Duke

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen enough of Tony Snell. The Bucks have so much potential with Giannis, Brogdon, Middleton, Parker, and Maker. They just don’t have a shooting guard who can score or create. Kennard is soo crafty and can create his own shot much better than Snell. Snell is the better defender but Kennard gives them much needed offensive firepower and improved exponentially last year at Duke. Shooting 48.1 percent from behind the arc he is just what they need to take pressure off Giannis offensively. Kennard could be taken earlier but if not the Bucks need to hop on board.

 

18) Indiana Pacers- C Bam Abedayo Kentucky

Paul George is going to leave in a year, MAX, but you can’t exactly account for that with the #18 overall pick. But you can take an electrifying player like Abedayo. They do already have ex-Longhorn Myles Turner, but in my opinion, either guy can switch to power forward, preferably Turner because of his range. Abedayo is as raw as it gets offensively but averaged 5.0 blocks per 100 possessions and plays above the rim. A ferocious finisher and dunker with the potential to develop offensively. If they do try and make up for Geroge they could draft Harry Giles as he has the most potential out of anyone at this point in the draft. Giles could arguably make more sense as he is more of a 4 and has a higher ceiling but he is a much bigger risk.

 

19) Atlanta Hawks- C Justin Patton Creighton

Dwight doesn’t have many years left so much so that he’s working on his three point shot. Yikes. Instead, they might as well take a better version of him in freshmen Justin Patton who can actually make them. In very few attempts he did show he can make the outside shot at 54.4% so he has great range for a center and is great pick and roll player. He’s very mobile and an explosive finisher but is still very raw. He needs to get stronger to better his down low presence as well as his rebounding.

 

20) Portland TrailBlazers (via Grizzlies)- PF Harry Giles Duke

Giles is a bit of a mystery being that we never really got see him play much due to injuries. Then when healthy he didn’t have much time to assimilate into Coach K’s offense at Duke. But don’t let that fool you going into the year he was a sure fire lottery pick and even projected top 5. Giles has all the tools to be a great power forwards, size, strength, ability to shoot, mobility, and can play the pick and roll. The only problem is he’s torn or partially torn both his ACL’s. The Blazers have three picks so they can afford to take this gamble, also they need him big time because Noah Vonleh is horrific.

 

21) Oklahoma City Thunder (via Memphis)- PF T.J. Leaf UCLA

T.J Leaf is still going to need some time to develop and put on size but he’s still just 19. What he will provide immediately for the Thunder and Russ especially is a great scorer and shooter. Leaf shot an incredible 64.4 percent from the field for UCLA and has solid post moves already. Combine that with 46.6 % from behind the arc and Russ will be a big fan of this pick. The Thunder just didn’t have the horses last year on the offensive end, Leaf will be a big help.

 

22) Brooklyn Nets- PF D.J. Wilson Michigan

With the Nets trading their 27th overall pick and Lopez for Mozgov and Russell this pick becomes even more important. This is their only pick and is crucial that they get a good player here. Wilson is just that, won’t be a star but should be a solid NBA player. Wilson is a versatile stretch 4 who made over 50 % of his threes in limited attempts as well as can run the floor and handle the rock. He’s a great finisher and can cut quick for a power forward. His biggest hole is that he only rebounds 5.0 per 40 minutes which is atrocious for a power forward. Needs to get bigger and play with more physicality, also not the best defender but potential with a 7″3 wingspan.

 

23) Toronto Raptors (via Raptors)- C Ike Onigbogu UCLA

We don’t know if they will be able to retain Serge Ibaka but Onigbogu is a much cheaper option. Although he doesn’t have anywhere near the offensive skill Ibaka has he’s a finisher and shot blocker. Valancunious does not provide that so Onigbogu will give them a rim protector and a spark off the bench.

 

24) Utah Jazz- PG Jawuan Evans Oklahoma State

George Hill, although played very well for Utah, is a free agent and isn’t getting younger at 31. If the Jazz wants a point guard for the future Evans is a nice flier late in the first round. Evans is an elite scorer and playmaker but is just 6″0 on a good day in shoes. This is a problem as he has trouble finishing over length defenders a the rim. He is electric and and a career 40.7 % 3 point shooter at Oklahoma State.

 

25) Orlando Magic- SG Terrance Ferguson Australia

The Magic need some, well magic. Taking Isaac if they do should make them more dynamic but they still need A LOT of help. Ferguson has great potential at 6″7 and a ridiculous 38 inch vertical. Ferguson is as quick as a bullet and a fly higher but weighs just 184 lbs so he is clearly overmatched defensively. He needs to put on weight and muscle but could be a dynamic player in a couple years. Fournier is a good shooting guard but who know if he’ll be here in a few years. Ferguson is a developmental project who still needs 2-3 years, the magic won’t be good for some time anyway.

 

26) Portland Trailblazers- PF Tyler Lydon Syracuse

Lydon makes sense here, (if they keep the pick), as he provides a stretch four off the bench who can help with spacing. The Portland guards don’t have much room down low as none of their big men really have much range. Lydon would make defenses stay honest. He’s a good passer and a decent rebounder who can block shots but could improve his post moves down low and add some size.

 

27) Los Angeles Lakers (via Nets)- SF/PF Semi Ojeleye SMU

Ojeleye is a physical specimen at 6″7 235lbs who could be a big sleeper in this draft. Post Nets trade, the Lakers will need a small forward as they don’t have Paul George, yet. Even if they do get George Ojeleye can slide to 4 as Randle would most likely be gone. Semi is someone with potential and can light up the scoreboard. He’s a great offensive rebounder but is a tweener, most likely too small for even a stretch four but doesn’t have the lateral quickness defensively. But still Ojeyele is a great teammate who knows his role and has high basketball IQ, he’s a great pick if he’s on the board here for Brooklyn.

 

28) Los Angeles Lakers- PG/SG Derrick White Colorado

With the Russell departure, the Lakers are in need of some depth a guard. Assuming they draft Lonzo with the second pick, White could serve as a good backup/combo guard off the bench. He’s got quickness and a whole lot of toughness. Something lacking in La La Land. White could give them some much-needed scoring and energy off the bench. He loves to run the floor and push the tempo, maybe he can bring back a little of that Showtime feel.

 

29) San Antonio Spurs- PF/C Ivan Rabb California

Rabb never truly led up to the hype at California. He was supposed to be a top ten pick going into last year but struggled. He improved slightly last year as a sophomore and is a very good rebounder with a mid-range game. Unfortunately, he’s a more traditional big man playing more down low and doesn’t provide much spacing. He has a good post game and is mobile which Pop should utilize to his advantage as the potential future power forward for the Spurs for years to come.

 

30) Utah Jazz- SG Josh Hart Villanova

With the prospect of losing their top scorer, biggest threat on the wing and best player, Gordon Hayward in free agency, the Jazz will be in need of some help there. Being already set at the forward and center spots with Gobert and Favors. A Prototypical shooting guard could help here. Especially when Joe Johnson leaves after next season. A 4 year player like Josh Hart with high basketball IQ and a little chip on his shoulder could be a perfect fit for Utah. He is effective in both the open floor and in half court sets. A talented shooter, great decision maker but maybe most important, strong leadership qualities. These are some of the things you look for most with players in the later part of the draft. Some might call this a tad bit of a reach, but Hart won’t disappoint.

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